There’s no winery event like one where a new label is introduced, and the world is coming out of pandemic restrictions. Last weekend in early May I drove to Ankida Ridge Vineyards in western Amherst County, to enjoy the lovely mountain views and top-notch Virginia wines.
The occasion was the release of Ankida’s first rose’, estate-bottled Pinot Noir, 2020 vintage. I’ve tasted other very young rose’s that were tight and hard to taste at this stage. Fortunately, that was not the case with this wine! Even though it was (sensibly) finished with a Stelvin (screwcap) closure, which can make young wines even harder to get aromas and flavors from, this was not the case.
First, the color: a vivid light crimson, with sixteen hours of skin contact before a light pressing. Skin contact raises the phenolic content and pH, which can be problematic for some rose’s such as those based on Grenache, but that was not an issue here. The attractive vivid color gave way to a vivid, bright nose of ripe red cherries. Aromas and flavors only grew with time after the bottle was opened.
On the palate, bright red cherry flavors, matching vivid crisp acidity and a large volume of flavor; a great combination! Co-owner and viticulturist Christine Vrooman explained that “We wanted to make a rose’ for all seasons,” that would be full-bodied and full-flavored and versatile with many foods and moods year-round, and in this, they succeeded.
As we enjoyed the wine over the course of an hour with lunch, the aroma and palate expression kept growing. Like all Ankida estate wines, this rose’ was made from biodynamically-farmed grapes. The difference this makes in taste experience compared to mass-market wines is like drinking a wine with four dimensions instead of three or even two. It’s as if you can feel waves of taste vibrations moving across your palate. The vivid fruit expression and vibrant acidity that should always be part of a classic Pinot Noir were clearly present.
Even though this wine is very young, it’s so expressive now that I recommend waiting to drink it until the weather starts to cool in the fall. It will be a brilliant accompaniment to Thanksgiving and will be even better in a year than it is now.
Rating: ****+ out of five. This is the most impressive rose’ I can remember tasting, and it’s also the most expensive at $29 (only 120 cases made). Think of it as a red Pinot Noir “light” instead of a mere pale rose’.